An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle

September 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015

Jess Collins, known simply as Jess, and his partner, the poet Robert Duncan, were one of the most fascinating artist couples of the 20th century. An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle is the first exhibition to focus on the creative production and relationship between the two, and their remarkable circle of friends. Jess's mind-bending collages—or, as he called them, "paste-ups," were often published to accompany erudite Duncan's poems and essays, whose writings and ideas, in turn, made their way into Jess's dense and allusive works. The exhibition draws its name, "An Opening of the Field," from the title of one of Duncan's key books. Progenitors of modernism, Jess and Duncan heavily influenced an entire generation of poets and painters who would gather at their San Francisco home, which served as a salon and gallery space for their artist friends. The exhibition includes approximately 85 works by Jess and Duncan as well as from members of their coterie, including R. B. Kitaj, Edward Corbett, Wallace Berman, Lawrence Jordan, and George Herms, as well as the poets Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, and Michael McClure and is accompanied by a 250-page catalogue.

An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle is co-curated by Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff, and is organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.

The International Associations of Art Critics-United States (AICA-US) honored An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle with an award in Excellence in Art Criticism and
Curatorial Achievement for Best Thematic Show Nationally.


Jess, The Enamord Mage: Translation #6, 1965. Oil on canvas over wood, 24 ½ x 30 in. Collection of The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin

September 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin
brings together work by these three contemporary artists for the first time. Long known for using photography to narrative ends, Brooks, Callis, and Cowin, who emerged simultaneously in 1970s Southern California, challenge both the role of women and their chosen medium in multi-layered, provocative images. Taking its title from the eponymous Talking Heads song, the exhibition features a series of photographs from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Their photographic tableaux are like illicit reveries and performances—"shakedown dreams in broad daylight," as the Talking Heads might have called them—that reflect a multitude of private torments and obsessions. Ranging from small individual photographs to large-scale sequences comprised of several prints, the installation freely intermixes work by the three artists, exploring issues of female identity, relationship, intimacy, domestic conflict, and gender performance.

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin is curated by Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon, and is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art.


Jo Ann Callis, Salt, Pepper, Fire, 1980. Dye Transfer Print, 22 ½ x 17 ½ inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

Stas Orlovski: Chimera

September 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015

Long fascinated by sources such as the Soviet-era children's books from his own childhood, Japanese prints, and Dutch botanical illustration, Stas Orlovski has mined this vocabulary of images, ideas, and motifs for his drawings, collages, paintings, and prints. For Stas Orlovski: Chimera—using the magical projections of the 18th and 19th century Phantasmagoria shows as a point of inspiration—he creates a moving drawing where disparate histories, events, and dreams collide.

The installation is accompanied by an atmospheric sound piece composed by Steve Roden specifically for Stas Orlovski: Chimera, collaged, much like the installation, from collected sounds related to the creation of the work—such as chalk dropping to the floor, tape being dispensed, and the sound of birds chirping outside the artist's studio, along with instruments—both acoustic and electronic.

Stas Orlovski: Chimera is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Funding for this exhibition has been generously provided by United States Artists Hatchfund and the Center for Cultural Innovation.


Stas Orlovski, Chimera, 2014. Wall drawing, collage, stop-motion animation, and sound. Courtesy of the Artist. Sound by Steve Roden. Post-production by Beau Leduc.